Are you practicing purposeful living? Have you asked yourself if you are fulfilling your purpose in life? Do you feel like you are moving through life without having a purpose?
If so, you’ve got it ALL wrong. Nobody in the entire world has just one purpose. We get so lost in chasing that one purpose that we miss how important we actually are to the world.
Overall, the purpose of our lives is to be happy. However, we have unlimited and multiple purposes in life.
I don’t know who decided we are only supposed to have one purpose in life in order to say we have a purposeful life. If I could get my hands on that person, I would like to just shake him or her.
That false belief has left so many people feeling worthless in life. Purposeful living does not mean living with only one purpose.
What if we had multiple purposes in life? Let’s take it even further than that. Consider the possibility that we might have multiple purposes in a single day.
When you finish this post, I hope you will begin to see the truth in that. Fulfilling your purpose is not a one and done “thing.” You will see that you are fulfilling your purpose in life and that consists of many different things.
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Somehow, somewhere, it was decided that, in order to practice purposeful living, your “one” purpose has to be huge and consist of a ton of work. Now, you can absolutely have one of those purposes but that is not your only purpose.
As a psychotherapist, I have had many clients tell me that they feel worthless because they don’t think their life is fulfilling a purpose. No matter how many times I hear that, it always brings me a bit of sadness.
The amount of damage this belief, that we should all have one huge life purpose, causes is huge. So, I am going to use one of my many life purposes in this post to try to convince you that that belief is so incredibly wrong.
This will help you see that, in fact, you are practicing purposeful living. You can let go of feeling worthless and like you have no purpose.
Often, we dismiss or don’t recognize the positive impact we have on others. Not only that, we don’t recognize that our positive impact is indeed one of our many purposes.
Fulfilling Your Purpose to Create a Purposeful Life
Now, I’ve been yammering on about having multiple purposes and how the idea of one purpose in life is wrong.
So, now I’ll use myself as an example of the enormous number of multiple purposes I have in my life. Every day I am practicing purposeful living and it doesn’t even require that much time or energy.
For example, this morning I went to the gym to work out. I’m a stay-at-home mom while running two businesses. So, where I go, my baby goes. As we walked into the gym, there was an elderly man walking out.
He had such a sadness in his eyes. Obviously, I think my baby is the cutest baby in the world, but I also know that he is very rare with his super curly, red hair and big, beautiful blue eyes. So, he gets a lot of attention everywhere we go.
This morning, that sweet man looked down at my precious baby and his whole face lit up. The sadness in his eyes was gone immediately. My son blew a kiss, “sugars” as we call it, to this man. I knew in that moment that the sweet man needed that gift my baby gave him.
So, that was purpose number one of the day in my life of purposeful living. I went to the gym and allowed my baby to pause for a moment to send love to this man who so obviously needed that. He even said, “Little boy, you’re the best thing I’ve seen in a long time.”
On my way home, I had a friend call to vent about some difficulties she was having. Hello purpose number two for the day. My purpose was to just listen and be a friend.
Now, it is close to noon today. My baby is napping, and I am sitting here writing this post. I know that this post may help others who are struggling because they don’t believe they are fulfilling a purpose of any sort in their lives. That’s purpose number three today.
As I mentioned, I own two businesses. Obviously, this blog is one. The other is my group mental health practice.
Not only do I own and manage my practice, but I’m also my own secretary. That brings me to purpose number four for today in my life of purposeful living.
I just answered the phone and got a new patient scheduled to see a therapist in my office. It is often so scary and difficult to just make a phone call to begin therapy.
During that phone call, I was kind and compassionate while listening to the caller who believed she was falling apart. I was just a tiny part in what might be the beginning of a beautiful and healing journey for her.
The Multiple Purposes We Have
Are you able to understand more now that we can have many purposes in life, even on a daily basis? If so, let’s now look at the larger picture throughout our lives and how you are already living a purposeful life.
Is it possible that you were unaware of some of your life purposes when you fulfilled them? Probably so. This might be a good time for you to pull out a journal to jot down thoughts that come to you as you read this.
Again, I’ll use myself as an example of purposeful living. Throughout my life I have had so many purposes, but never realized that until I began working on myself. Just know that fulfilling purpose in life is not hard.
Throughout my childhood and early adulthood, I struggled with a lot of family dysfunction and toxic relationships. That took a huge toll on my mental and physical health. Trust me, there were many times that unhealthy “Why Me???” crept in.
As I’m nearing middle-age, I can now see two of my life purposes from all of that pain. The first purpose is that I have stopped the toxic generational patterns in my family. That is huge!
My baby will have struggles as a result of mistakes I make, but I can promise you that he will not endure the same pain as I and every other generation before me did.
The second purpose from all of that pain was to provide guidance and unconditional love to my nieces. One is now beginning to heal from a lot of the same toxic patterns that were thrust upon us both in our family. She has stopped the toxic generational patterns for her part of the family.
For me, those two examples are some of the biggest and most important purposes one can have in life. Stopping toxic generational patterns changes the lives of younger generations and every single generation to come! Those are important and beautiful examples of purposeful living.
As a psychotherapist, I am able to fulfil many purposes. In the beginning of my career, I worked with patients struggling with substance abuse. I was able to share parts of my life about growing up with an alcoholic father.
Often, I worked with men who were old enough to be my father and had lost their families due to their substance abuse. Allowing them to see the effects their substance abuse had on their children, like it had on me, was beneficial in their recovery.
Letting them see that I could forgive my father for all he had done gave them hope for their own children. That’s not to say that all parents will have children who forgive them and often they won’t for good reason.
However, going to therapy to work on my pain brought me to a place of love and forgiveness for my father. So, there was some hope for them if they continued their recovery.
Hopefully, by now, you are seeing that purposeful living does not have to be hard. Not only that, but you are probably doing it. You just need to acknowledge it.
In case you are struggling to believe you are living a purposeful life, I’ve got you covered. I’m going to give you a few “purpose in life” examples to decrease that struggle.
Purpose in Life Examples:
- Offering kindness and love.
- Listening to others.
- Caring for the environment.
- Being a parent/caregiver or role model to children.
- Taking care of yourself.
Every single person in the world has the ability to offer kindness and love. Not only that, but it’s something that you are probably doing on a daily basis.
This example of purposeful living is free and doesn’t require much energy. A simple smile or hello is offering kindness and love.
Think about a time where you were really down, but still had to function through your day. I’m sure somebody smiled or spoke to you in a kind way.
That small offer of kindness and love lifted you, even if just for a moment. That person was practicing purposeful living. Now, haven’t you done that for somebody else a million times?
Of course you have! Remember that the goal of this post is for you to realize that you don’t have just one purpose in life. I’m writing this to show you that you are already living a purposeful life.
Listening is Fulfilling Purpose
Now, I also want to tell you about one of the most powerful things you can do for somebody. That is just listening to them without judging, giving advice or comparing your difficulties to theirs.
I’m sure you have had a time where you needed to just talk to somebody without them responding in any way other than letting you know they heard you and that they love you no matter what.
Our human nature when listening to others is to let them know how we relate to their struggles. However, when truly listening to somebody, it’s rarely appropriate to talk about your own struggles.
Instead, find a person who will just listen to you or find a time when the person you listened to is in a better place for you to share your similar struggles. If you immediately start talking about how you relate and telling your own story, you are not just listening to them anymore.
This kind of purposeful living requires you to set your “stuff” aside for a moment. Your “stuff” is important too, but, in that moment, your purpose is to just listen.
When we start sharing our own experiences while listening, it often demeans the person’s “stuff.” I’m sure you have experienced that before.
It never feels good. Instead, it teaches you not to share your “stuff” with that person because they weren’t able to fulfill the purpose you needed. It might also teach them not to share their “stuff” with anybody else either.
Fulfilling Purpose for Our World
Now, I can tend to get on my soapbox when I’m talking about caring for the environment. I’ll try to refrain from using all caps when discussing this type of purposeful living.
It is not hard to find small ways to care for our environment. Also, you are practicing purposeful living when you do so.
Obviously, recycling is a big way you can care for our environment, but there are many others too. Simply picking up a piece of trash in a parking lot is also caring for our environment.
Learning about ways to reduce your use of plastic is also a great way to care for the environment. There are lots of small and big ways you can practice purposeful living by taking better care of our world.
If you are interested in ways to clean up your home environment and your body, click here to read my post 5 Steps to Prepare for Clean Living. Our mental health is affected by our environment, and you deserve to make it the best possible.
Teaching Children is a Purpose in Life
Now, the fourth purpose in my Purpose in Life Examples can make major changes for all of our generations to come, as can the previous purpose. As adults, whether you have your own children or not, we have huge opportunities to practice purposeful living.
Children watch everything that adults do. I vividly remember many years ago when I was taking my two nieces to a Chinese buffet to eat.
There was a sign saying that children under a certain age eat free. My youngest niece was one year older than the age allowed to eat free.
It was said to me that I should just lie because “they’ll never know.” In that moment, I had an easy decision to make.
My purpose in that moment needed no hesitation. I quickly informed the person suggesting that I lie, which would’ve been stealing, that, no, I would not lie. I would pay for my niece’s meal.
That taught my nieces that my character did not allow for stealing. Hopefully, they learned that it is not acceptable to lie and steal from a restaurant or any place or person for that matter.
If you don’t have children that are in your life often, you can still practice purposeful living with children. I promise that you are around children somewhere in your life, even if it’s just at the grocery store.
Again, children are always watching adults. So, speaking of the grocery store, I often see people intentionally cutting others off with their carts because they’re in a hurry, which doesn’t send a positive message.
There are so many examples like this that I could give you, but you should get the picture by now. Just remember that children are always watching and they give you tons of ways to practice purposeful living.
Taking Care of Yourself is a Purpose
It’s finally time to talk about one of the most important steps in purposeful living and that is taking care of yourself. Think about all of the previous purpose-in-life examples I’ve given you.
There is no way you can practice similar behaviors to the best of your ability if you are not taking care of yourself. The reason I say taking care of yourself is a way to practice purposeful living is that it allows you to fulfil all of your many other purposes.
I could go into a lot more detail here, but, instead, I want you to read two of my other blog posts on this topic. The first is What is Self-Care. It will guide you on the ins and outs of self-care.
The second post I want you to read is 4 Ways of Creating Time for Self-Care Ideas. Purposeful living often requires you to be intentional, as does self-care.
That post will teach you how to be intentional in setting time for self-care. Before you start thinking you don’t have enough time as it is, know that this post gives you examples of self-care that only take a few minutes a day. You have a few minutes a day, I promise.
The Purpose of Our Lives is to be Happy
Hopefully, by now, you are feeling better about yourself regarding having purpose in your life. You can now see that your life is full of many important purposes.
As always, we can learn from one another. So, share some of your purposes with the Not Good Enough Stuff community by commenting below.
Don’t forget that the purpose of our lives is to be happy overall. Acknowledging your many purposes is one of the keys to doing that.
I’d love to hear how you are fulfilling some of your purposes in this beautiful life. As for me, I am going to practice some more purposeful living with self-care after fulfilling one of my purposes today in sharing this post with you.
This site is only intended for people who are truly willing to look at themselves with an open mind and have the ability to truly be vulnerable with themselves and others. Please understand that this site is in NO WAY THERAPEUTIC ADVICE. However, this site can be very beneficial in learning the causes of your Not Good Enough Stuff. This site is not intended to provide or replace medical or psychiatric treatment. Mary Beth HIGHLY RECOMMENDS finding a licensed therapist to help you process the information from this site and all that you learn about yourself. Visit Psychology Today to find a licensed therapist in your area.